Canine Calamity

Those eyes – simultaneously
pleading and apologetic –
sweet eyes begging for attention
which I cannot give – understand
that I am unable to extend any
more responsibility – am over-
taxed – just want to retreat, be
burden-free – the affection you
crave from me unavailable.

Remember simpler times?
How you and I would curl up
arm in arm, on the rug in front
of the television – inseparable.
Disinterested, you would turn
your back to me, and I would
nestle into your solidity, feel
comforted, accepted, reassured.

Oh, how we’d play – outdoors,
you chasing me on my bicycle,
teasing, threatening to topple
and I’d laugh till I cried – I loved
you so. And at night, you would
sneak into my room and without
waking me, fall asleep – it was
our undoing – you were exiled.

I know you only wanted to be
near, but what you didn’t know,
couldn’t know, was that I was
never meant to be so attached
to another – that your loyalty
was affecting my well-being –
that unconditional love, such
as yours, was never in my
karma – please understand.

When I let you in my life again,
I was not the same person –
already worn down, unable to
open my heart – it was not you –
you are guileless, pure of intention –
I could never blame you – it is all
me – don’t give me those eyes –
you know I’d love you in a nano-
second if it were not for this
terrible affliction – this bodily
reaction to any contact between us.

Now you come to me in dreams,
eyes still tender, gentleness your
constant demeanour, still asking for
my acceptance and even in such
a state of unconsciousness, I both
remember your love and reject you –
what am I to do?  I know you will
persist, have witnessed your dogged
determination – but do not know how
to respond – so undeserving, am I,
of your resilient love.

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The Red Box

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“I am sending you a red box,”
the voice says in my dream
(a dream within a dream, really).
“Will you be there to receive it?”

An image of a lipstick-red, life-sized,
shiny red box dances in my head.
“I will!” I say, wondering who would
send me such an extravagant gift.

“Will you be coming, too?”
I add quickly, remembering manners.
I am asleep, if you recall, have no idea
who I am speaking to: a poor connection.

“Do you know who I am?” asks caller.
“Yes, of course!” I respond, not actually
knowing at all,  trying to be polite.
“Looking forward to it.” Am I?

“You don’t sound surprised.”
“Surprised and delighted!” I assure,
falsely – in this semi-consciousness,
sensibility has not yet set in.

Only when I disconnect, do I panic.
Some distant memory surfaces,
a vague recollection of indiscretion –
have I invited danger into my house?

Now, I am awake – faculties firing,
heart still beating, curious/ alert.
What could this mean, this
dream within a dream?

Look to where my mind went –
larger than life expectations,
when no such detail was revealed –
was the panic just as unwarranted?

Am I subconsciously mocking:
commenting on the instability
of thought processes, in this
altered state of health?

I ponder meaning, wonder at
the significance of red boxes,
when my husband delivers –
a small, red patterned box.

“I won this for you,” he says.
Three beaded necklaces inside.
I thank him, dismissively, rapt
in my mystery, inattentive –

I’m sending you a red box;
was the message, will you be
present to receive it? –
Oh God!
The pieces fall in place.

Presence alone heals
weakening connections,
honest communication,
with expectations aside.

Distraction, fear, anxiety
are the undermining factors
that rape relationships
turn us from the actual gift.

I am awake, but dreaming
suspended between fantasies
of promising futures, and insults
from the past – selfish indulgence.

Marriage is the red box,
in its ever altered form –
offering endless gifts if
only we’d receive it.